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Bypassing Starfleet's orders, Lorca uses the USS Discovery crew's ultimate asset, the ship itself, in an effort to end the war with the Klingons once and for all.


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Memorable quotes

"I have no intention of reaching our destination. But if you're planning on disobeying a direct order, best not to advertise the fact. So, you all heard the panicked admiral. Starfleet is tired of fighting the Klingon cloaking devices and losing. So am I."

- Gabriel Lorca, explaining that his appearance of following Starfleet's orders is a ruse

"We are about to face the most difficult challenge we have ever attempted. Today, we stare down the bow of the Ship of the Dead, the very same ship that took thousands of our own at the Battle of the Binary Stars. When I took command of this vessel, you were a crew of polite scientists. Now, I look at you. You are fierce warriors all. No other Federation vessel would have a chance of pulling this off. Just us. Because mark my words: you will look back proudly and tell the world you were there the day the USS Discovery saved Pahvo and ended the Klingon War."

- Gabriel Lorca, addressing the crew of the USS Discovery

"Captain, I'm afraid... I don't know where we are."

- Saru, explaining that a failed spore drive jump has left the Discovery stranded in an unknown area of space

Background information


  • This episode's title comes from a quote by John Muir: "And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul." [1] The writers of the episode chose it because they believed it especially reflected Michael Burnham's journey over the past eight episodes. (After Trek: "8")

Story and script

  • Upon deciding how many jumps Stamets would be required to make, the writers initially selected 525,600. This was an in-joke reference to the song "Seasons of Love" from the musical Rent, which actors Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz both (at different times) appeared in. However, that number seemed too farfetched. The writers finally chose 133, as an homage to the 2004 Battlestar Galactica pilot "33", written by former Star Trek writing staffer Ronald D. Moore. (After Trek: "8")
  • Nonetheless, the writers still managed to include a nod to Rent in this episode. Stamets offers to take Culber to see a production of the opera La bohème, on which Rent is based.
  • While writing this episode, Erika Lippoldt and Bo Yeon Kim were unofficially helped by writer/producer Lisa Randolph. "[She] was instrumental in shaping the episode into what it is," revealed Lippoldt. [2]
  • Following their instincts as dramatists, Erika Lippoldt and Bo Yeon Kim intentionally juxtaposed a romantic kiss between Stamets and Culber with an immediately subsequent, mysterious disaster. (After Trek: "8")
  • Because they viewed Admiral Cornwell as a strong character that they consequently wanted to retain, the writers decided not to have her killed off in this episode. "We definitely, definitely wanted to keep her alive," noted Erika Lippoldt. Bo Yeon Kim added, "We were just so, so happy to have her back for our episode, and for her to have a redemption story as well. And have this amazing connection with Burnham too, in that they work together, but not really so much exchanging. Like, they don't really say what they have to do on the Sarcophagus ship, they just [...] get shit done." (After Trek: "8")
  • Burnham wasn't scripted to cry during the scene where Tyler discloses to her how L'Rell tortured him. (After Trek: "8")

Cast and characters

  • Burnham actress Sonequa Martin-Green gave kudos to Kol actor Kenneth Mitchell for his participation in this episode, saying he had done "such phenomenal work." (After Trek: "8")
  • Erika Lippoldt commended Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz for their work in the scene where Stamets and Culber romantically kiss. "They did such a beautiful job in that scene," Lippoldt commented. (After Trek: "8")
  • Sonequa Martin-Green and Shazad Latif were eager to perform the scene in which Tyler confides in Burnham that he has been sexually violated by L'Rell. "We just loved it because we were able to see a sort of role reversal with a man admitting to a woman that he had been sexually abused and needing that comfort and empathy. And we were both reveling in the opportunity to do that," commented Martin-Green. (After Trek: "8")


  • The fight between Burnham and Kol was choreographed by Stunt Co-ordinator Christopher McGuire and Fight Co-ordinator Hubert Boorder. "I loved fighting with Kenneth [Mitchell]," Sonequa Martin-Green reminisced, "because, you know, the Klingon style is just so brutal, and so what I had to do [was a lot of evasion] [....] And Kenneth and I were just down in there. I accidentally punched him in the knee, he accidentally, like, clobbered me in my hand with his mek'leth. So, we were just like, 'I forgive you. Yeah, it's great, one for one. Yeah, we in this, let's do it. Let's keep going, it's awesome,'" Martin-Green laughed. Considering that Kenneth Mitchell was performing Kol's movements in full prosthetics and with a massive cape on his back, his involvement in the fight took considerable stamina. Concurring, Martin-Green noted, "We were drenched [in sweat]." (After Trek: "8")
  • It was only during filming that Sonequa Martin-Green added the moment when, after Tyler tells her about his sexual abuse by L'Rell, Burnham cries a single tear. "That was just something that came organically [....] And when that take happened, everyone choked up," Bo Yeon Kim remembered. "We knew that was the one we wanted to use." (After Trek: "8")
Into the Forest storyboards

Storyboards from the making of this episode

  • For the scene (#961) involving Lorca and Stamets looking out over Pahvo while standing in the Discovery's shuttlebay, a green screen stood in for the starfield during filming. [3] The scene was storyboarded, as was the destruction of the Sarcophagus. Director Chris Byrne used these storyboards to plan each of the scenes. (After Trek: "8")

Continuity and trivia

  • Lorca telling Stamets he "chose to go where no-one has gone before" is, chronologically, the earliest instance of this phrase including the term "no-one." Its usage here was preceded by the phrase being referred to as "where no man has gone before" firstly in a speech Zefram Cochrane makes in ENT: "Broken Bow", as well as on the dedication plaque aboard Enterprise NX-01. After this episode, the same version of the motto is reused in Kirk's introductory words during the opening credits of virtually all TOS episodes and on the dedication plaque aboard the USS Enterprise-A. Only after a captain's log Kirk voices at the end of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (in which he says, "where no man, where no-one has gone before") did the "no-one" version become commonplace.
  • Lorca was previously shown studying his multicolored holographic display of Stamets' jumps and the parallel universes in earlier first season installments "Lethe" (when Admiral Cornwell arrived aboard the Discovery) and "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" (in a montage at the start of that episode).
  • Sonequa Martin-Green observed that Burnham's appeal to Lorca to send her to the Sarcophagus was similar to her appeal to Philippa Georgiou to launch a preemptive strike against that ship, so as to avoid the war that ultimately ensued, in DIS series premiere "The Vulcan Hello". (After Trek: "8")
  • Whereas Michael Burnham tells Kol in this episode that she killed T'Kuvma, she revealed the same thing to Harry Mudd in "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad".
  • The shot that transitions from Pahvo to a pullback from Stamets' left eye resembles the first shot of DIS, in which a view of an unnamed planet turns into a pullback from T'Kuvma's right eye.
  • This episode is the first Star Trek episode or film to show female nipples on-screen, albeit briefly in a character's nightmare.
Stamets and Culber kiss

Stamets and Culber kiss

  • This episode is the first Star Trek episode or film to feature a romantic kiss between two men. It aired twenty-two years and thirteen days after the first romantic kiss between two women, in DS9: "Rejoined".
  • The sudden change to the coloration of Stamets' eyes as well as his more slowly developing omniscience are similar to those of Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner in TOS pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before".
  • The Discovery becoming lost in an unknown region of space is akin to an aspect of I AM ERROR's premise, as the USS Voyager, having become lost in an unexplored region deep in the Delta Quadrant, must make a long journey home during the course of that series.


  • CBS All Access promoted this episode as the end of "Chapter One". Although still considered "Season One" as a whole, the next episode will premiere eight weeks later, as the premiere of "Chapter Two". This episode is the first time a "mid-season finale" has been used in a Star Trek series. Whilst previous series often had periods which did not see a new first-run episode being broadcast (usually rerunning earlier episodes in the interim), particularly when in syndication, this is the first explicit broadcast break in a Star Trek series.
  • Exactly one week before this episode was released, After Trek: "7" debuted the scene in which Burnham appeals to Lorca to send her to the Sarcophagus.
  • Erika Lippoldt described the kiss between Stamets and Culber as a "beautiful moment we've been waiting for for so long." Similarly, Bo Yeon Kim referred to the scene in which Burnham cries a single tear in response to Tyler's ordeal at the hands of L'Rell as "beautiful." (After Trek: "8")
  • I AM ERROR Co-Executive Producer and Writer Ted Sullivan thoroughly approved of this episode. "It is 'Balance of Terror' good," he enthused. "They blew it out [of the water ....] I'm predicting that people's heads will explode that they wrote something so... I had such episode envy when I read the script and went, 'Ahh!'" (After Trek: "7")
  • After Trek host Matt Mira likewise highly approved of this episode, calling it "a pantheon Star Trek episode." (After Trek: "8") He remarked that the scene showing Burnham appeal for Lorca to send her to the Sarcophagus was "very interesting." (After Trek: "7") Mira also commended the depiction, especially the writing and acting, of Stamets making the 133rd jump, with his boyfriend, Dr. Culber, just staring at him. Other factors that Mira approved of were the first gay kiss in Star Trek history and Admiral Cornwell being returned to the Discovery. (After Trek: "8")
  • Laura Hudson of the Verge wrote an editorial praising the episode for raising the topic of male rape victims. [4]

Production history

Links and references



Guest starring


Uncredited co-stars

Stunt doubles



algorithm; Battle of the Binary Stars; black alert; boarding party; Briar Patch; burial chamber; Castor; clearing; cloaking device; cloaking frequency; command stations; Decker; digoxin; EM radiation; evasive pattern; forest; fortune cookie; Georgiou, Philippa; gravitational field; Kasseelian opera; kiss; La bohème; Legion of Honor; life signs; light; medial temporal lobe; mek'leth; moon; mycelial network; negative mass; Pahvan transmitter; Pahvo; Pahvo system; parallel universes; pattern simulator; PTSD; ready room; Risa; Sarcophagus; sensor; shock; sinoatrial node; spore delivery system; spore drive; Starbase 46; Starbase 88; T'Kuvma; torturer; white matter

External links

Previous episode:
"Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum"
Star Trek: Discovery
Season 1
Next episode:
"Despite Yourself"
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